News / Middle East

Military Commander, 18 Troops Killed in Iraq

Commander of the army's Seventh Division, Maj. Gen Mohammed Ahmed al-Kurwi, left, attends Ministry of Defence conference, Baghdad Dec. 14, 2013.
Commander of the army's Seventh Division, Maj. Gen Mohammed Ahmed al-Kurwi, left, attends Ministry of Defence conference, Baghdad Dec. 14, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Militants killed at least 18 Iraqi officers and soldiers in Sunni-dominated Anbar province on Saturday, including a commander who oversaw a crackdown on Sunni protesters earlier this year, military sources said.
 
Islamist militants' posts on online forums called the slain commander, Mohammed Ahmed al-Kurwi, a "criminal" and celebrated the attack, which security sources described as carefully planned and executed.
 
Al Qaeda-linked Sunni militants have intensified attacks on Iraq's security forces, civilians and anyone seen as supporting the Shi'ite-led government in recent months in the country's deadliest violence in five years.
 
The circumstances of Saturday's attack were in dispute. The Defence Ministry said Kurwi, commander of the army's Seventh Division, and several other high-ranking officers were killed by a roadside bomb while pursuing militants from an al Qaeda training camp in Anbar's desert.
 
But other military sources said the officers were killed when three suicide bombers wearing explosive belts detonated themselves among them in the western town of Rutba, 360 km (225 miles) west of Baghdad.
 
"All that we know so far is three suicide bombers wearing explosive vests came from nowhere and detonated themselves among the officers," a military officer who was at the scene told Reuters by phone.
 
Some security officials suggested informants may have lured the commanders to the area under the pretext of raiding the al Qaeda camp.
 
No specific group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but suicide bombing is the trademark of al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate, which merged this year with counterparts in Syria to form the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
 
The assistant commander of the Seventh Division, the commander of its 27th Brigade, and several other high-ranking officers were also among those killed in the attack, sources said.
 
Another 32 soldiers were wounded.
 
Hawija's ghost
 
Militant Islamists online portrayed Kurwi's death as retribution for the killings of more than 40 people in a raid by security forces on a Sunni protest camp in the northern town of Hawija in April.
 
"The criminal who was killed today at the hands of al-Baghdadi's men was the leader of the Hawija massacre," said one user on Twitter, referring to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
 
The April raid — which Kurwi oversaw — came after months of protests by Sunnis against what they see as marginalization of their sect by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government.
 
ISIL insurgents have since stepped up attacks on strategic targets in parts of western Iraq in a bid to establish a state ruled by strict Sunni Islamic practice.
 
In a separate incident, the commander-in-chief of the police force in Shirqat, 300 km north of Baghdad, was killed and four of his officers were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded by his convoy, police and medical sources said.
 
Another two soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb went off as their military patrol was passing through Riyadh, a small town near Hawija, police said.
 
In Latifiya, a town 40 km south of Baghdad, two Shi'ite pilgrims were killed by rocket fire, police said. Another two Shi'ites were killed when militants raided a supermarket in the capital's southeast.
 
Iraqi security services are expecting more attacks ahead of the Shi'ite holy day of Arbaeen next week.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid